Wednesday, December 7, 2016

323. That Guy

There’s a guy on the bus that I don’t really like. He’s one of those guys where as soon as you see (or hear) him you know that he’s not going to make your day. For one, he talks a lot on the bus. I know that’s not a crime, but it’s also 8 a.m. in the morning and his conversation isn’t actually enlightening. Most of it’s harmless, yet annoying. He commented on a guy’s beverage choice for the morning, “Oh, a Diet Coke for breakfast, now I’ve seen everything!” The guy didn’t seem like he wanted to engage. I don’t blame him. You’ve never seen a someone drinking Diet Coke in the morning?

He’s an older, barrel shaped gentleman with a beard, a floppy hat. His personality reminds me of Baloo the Bear from the Jungle Book. He’s affable and jolly, and has a voice that you’d probably expect an affable and jolly bar to have. Which is fine, unless it’s at 8 a.m. He also doesn’t have great choices in conversation. A few weeks ago, he butted in on a conversation about illegal immigration in the south. I forget all the details, but he basically had hijacked a conversation from two people who were talking about the Zombie Pub Crawl and made it about a contentious political issue. I hate conversation hijackers. I have no desire to spend time around them. Now whenever I see the guy get on the bus, I just want to throw my headphones in. Yet, I can still hear him.

However, I don’t know the guy. My worldview is based on probably less than 30 minutes of observations from the other side of the bus. In most situations, I like to support friendliness. If it’s given to me, I’ll give it back. I’m totally ok with that. In the morning though, I kind of like silence. It’s my time to read or listen to a podcast. All of those things are just fine.

Maybe that guy is a terrible person with views I find horrid. Or maybe he’s just a guy on the bus who likes being friendly with people. In most cases, I like being friendly with people and I like friendly people. Maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, I’m friends and relatives with people whom I have differing opinions with. It’s not out of the question that this guy could be a decent human being despite his views on immigration.

Ever since the election, I’ve been trying to acknowledge my blind spots. Where do I hit the bumps in the road compared to other people? This is probably one of them. I want kindness and acceptance in the world, so I’m going to have to give it out. That’s a given.

I doubt that I’ll be the one to actively try and be this guy’s friend on the bus. I’m not going to get up and move seats if he does get on the bus. However, if he does happen to sit next to me, I’ll make myself open to conversation. No need to quash an invitation that comes your way.

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